Father’s Day Leavings

I find Father’s Day to be really difficult. I cannot pretend to have had some idyllic childhood and Father’s Day cards are not made for people like me. Do you know what I mean? There’s always something in there that rings false, with the pretty pictures of dad throwing the ball with kids, tucking them into bed with a bedtime story, or being the confidant to childhood tales of sadness or of dreams.

I’m agitated today when I think about it. The obligatory call, I mean. I love my dad. I really, really do. But so often I don’t like him very much. And I’m weary of trying to make him fit the mold of hero or daddy. Yet I find myself on pins and needles, hoping and praying that he won’t say something mean, but when it comes it comes out of left field–unexpected, and hits in an unprotected place. I’m winded and seeing stars. Do you know what I mean? When words hit as hard as a fist?

Ah, how old wounds resurface, even though they seemed to have been healed long ago and forgotten. And a new wound is there that needs the healing touch of my Savior. Ah, Lord have mercy. Help me, heal me, forgive me for my anger, forgive him for his words. Help me not to hold it against him, my King and my God. Blessed are you O Holy One and gracious and merciful are you, and your compassion never fails.

Update: 6/18 Just two days later and I find this post harsh and saying things that aren’t the whole truth. The “obligatory call” for Father’s Day makes it sound like I don’t want to talk to my dad. That’s categorically not true. I don’t know what dad I’m going to get when I call. Will I get Dad who is too exhausted to talk? Will I get Dad who is combative and argumentative? Will I get Dad who is concerned about my welfare? Will I get Dad who complains about other members of the family? Will I get Dad who digs at my sore spots, letting me know I am a disappointment? Who will I get? Sometimes I get nice Dad, the one who talks intelligently and at length about things I can understand or at least appreciate, who cares about my well-being and asks about my kids, but then, just when my guard is down, the zinger comes out of left field, the knife goes in between the plates of chain mail I have carefully created to protect myself. The knife doesn’t bounce off harmlessly, it hits it’s mark and I am left gasping for air and knowing that there is no point in asking him to help bind my wounds.  That’s all.  And it sounds harsh, I suppose. But I am still a daughter who wishes her father would shower me with love and approval, who would be proud of me and think well of me. Well…

I need to get over it.

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